Family & Friends of Green @ NYC Pride. Leslie Fienberg/transgenderwarrior
Dwight Delee has been found guilty of killing Latiesha Green after just one short week of trial. The verdict is significant in two conflicting ways. Delee was charged with murder but found guilty of manslaughter. While that reverses a recent trend to not convict people of killing trans women, it also lets Delee off the hook for intentionally targeting Green and instead says he meant only to do harm. On the positive side of the verdice, Delee was convicted of a hate crime, despite jurors being instructed that they could find him guilty without being guilty of a hate crime. The Green decision is the second high profile case to find the murderer guilty of hate crimes; the other case was in the Angie Zapata trial earlier this year.
Green, a 22 year old African American trans woman we’ve written about before here at the spot, was shot in the face at a stop outside of a party in Syracuse at the end of last year. Her brother Mark was seated in the passenger’s seat but was uninjured. Some witnesses testified they heard Delee call Green a “f—-t” before shooting her and others said that he was having a homophobic conversation with two other partygoers before getting his gun. Delee’s family says that he would never have said those things nor had a gun b/c he was wrapping up his parole and is being targeted as a black man already in the system. The jury and witnesses said differently.
Delee now faces a maximum of 35 years in prison for his crime. This number includes the additional hate crime sentence.
Green’s family has asked both the state of NY and the nation to pass stiffer laws to protect transgender people pointing to the years of harassment and death threats she endured in life. One can only hope that the growing attention to transgender rights in this country, coupled with the Zapata and Green verdicts and the recent Rob, Arnie, and Dawn Show transphobia, will help ensure people are talking, learning, and fight for transgender people’s rights.
- Latiesha Green’s Aunt w/picture of Green at NY Pride. Leslie Fienberg/transgenderwarrior
- “Baltimore: Transgender Woman Killed, Discovered in Vacant Home” and related posts (rodonline.typepad.com)
- Powerful Documentary on Angie Zapata’s Life and Murder Finished (pinkbananaworld.com)